With success of the LEAP engine program, the hiring campaign at Albany Engineered Composites is in full swing.
Parts for the LEAP engine, known to be energy efficient yet powerful when used in aviation, will be produced at a new manufacturing plant at the Granite State Business Park. The plant, which is expected to open this summer, will be a colocation of Albany Engineered Composites, a subsidiary of Albany International, and Safran USA, a subsidiary of the Safran group, headquartered in France.
The ramp-up period for the production of the LEAP engine is being moved forward by about a year, so Albany Engineered Composites is hiring more people sooner in preparation for a new plant, said Susan Siegel, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Albany International Corporation.
It has previously been announced that about 400 new employees will be hired as a result of a new manufacturing plant. According to Siegel, about 300 new workers at the plant will work for Albany Engineered Composites.
Last year, the company hired 40 new employees for the LEAP program. This year to date, the company hired about 16 employees for program, and there are more than 30 job openings that relate to the program.
Through radio advertisements and job fairs, Albany Engineered Composites has been advertising its open job positions, which are also posted in the career section of the Albany International website, www.albint.com.
Most of the open job positions are related to engineering, but the company is also looking to fill positions such as financial analyst, electrical technician, software developer, as well as a couple intern positions.
The LEAP engine, which uses parts made of composite materials, reduces aircraft noise and NOx emissions, and also reduces fuel consumption because of its light weight, according to company officials.
The engine is developed by CRM International, a 50/50 joint company of General Electric and the Safran group, parent company of Safran USA.
Siegel said the new manufacturing plant is scheduled to open in July, with first looms operating by August.
According to Siegel, while hiring efforts for the LEAP operations are in "full swing," that doesn't mean the company will complete all its hiring for the LEAP engine any time soon. Hiring will continue through 2020, she said.
At the new manufacturing plant, new hires will primarily complete tasks such as weaving and injecting LEAP engine parts, said Siegel. For example, weaver technicians will be weaving the three-dimensional preform for a part, and then RTM technicians will be putting the preform into a mold, and injecting it with resin.
"One of the challenges we have had is an organizational approach on training for 'displaced' manufacturing employees who come from older manufacturing operations that have shut down," said Siegel in an email. "They may possess strong general operation and mechanical skill sets but have not been trained in more modern manufacturing techniques such as lean manufacturing principles and computer skills."
To help ensure a qualified workforce is available to fill the necessary positions, Albany has partnered with Great Bay Community College, which is creating an Advanced Technology and Academic Center, at the Lilac Mall plaza. The training center, which is expected to be open by this summer, includes classroom space and a composite lab, in which students will learn advanced manufacturing skills.
Siegel said that Albany Engineered Composites will use the training center to help fill open manufacturing positions for the new plant.
"GBCC (Granite State Community College) will help develop a pool of qualified candidates for various manufacturing and other technical positions through the new training center," she said.
Albany Engineered Composites develops and manufactures advanced composite components that involve a complex 3D carbon weaving techniques. When used in lieu of metal, Albany's equipment remains strong while keeping the weight down, saving on fuel costs.
Siegel said that according to the company's estimations, roughly 45 percent of all new aircraft built between 2016 and 2030 will have composite fan blades, fan cases, and other parts developed and manufactured by Albany Engineered Composites.
"That's a pretty exciting team to be a part of," she said.
She said that the company offers market competitive pay to its employees, strong medical, dental, and vision benefits, and a retirement plan. She said that Albany Engineered Composites also offers competitive paid time off to balance work and life, as well as a rich tuition reimbursement benefit for those wishing to continue their education. Employees at the company also receive training and education opportunities to enhance skills such as lean manufacturing, safety, leadership, computer skills, and project management.
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